1 November 2018:
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Banking on Beauty

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

I’ve been in Halifax dozens of times, and greatly enjoy the mix of architecture: old wooden wharves and ship’s chandlers along the water, solid stone offices and banks in the commercial center, and modern glass cubes that mirror the view all around.

Today I set out on a photo expedition that led me into a 1930s wonder, hidden in plain sight.

The Bank of Nova Scotia, on Hollis Street, is easy to pass if you are distracted by the impressive Province House and the Citadel above.

But today, as I turned the corner, I stopped to admire its design: many old banks were designed with a salute to the local economy and to project the solidity of the financial institution within. That is very much the case here.

Built in 1930, it is very much a classical design inside and out, with some subtle–financially conservative–flourishes of Art Nouveau.

The building is surrounded by a cornice with medallions of old French, English, Canadian, and Nova Scotian coins. Other decorations include seagulls, Canadian geese, bear, silver fox, codfish, and beaver.

When I finished taking photos outside, I opened the massive doors to the bank, fully expecting to be body-slammed by a security guard; instead I was welcomed within.

The main banking hall has a 33-foot (10-meter) ceiling, with some handsome metallic lighting pendants.

And then I turned around to look above the main doors of the bank and saw a handsome mosaic that depicta the arrival of the Cunard steamship Brittania on her maiden voyage. Samuel Cunard, founder of the shipping company that still bears his name, was born in Halifax. His parents were Loyalists who fled north after the upstart Americans declared rebellion.

The Brittania was launched in 1840, one of four ocean liners in the first years of the company: Brittania, Acadia, Caledonia, and Columbia.

Charles Dickens crossed the pond on Brittania to Boston in 1842, and did not much enjoy the voyage. He wrote about it in his book, “American Notes.”

Elsewhere in town I stopped to photograph the old schooner Silva, and a collection of wooden pulleys and equipment nearby.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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